Combining “Big City” Experience With “Small Town” Service
Photo of the legal professionals at Lozner & Mastropietro

Slip, Trip And Fall Accidents Are Common, But Complex

Para español

Trip, slip and fall accidents are common, particularly in New York City, where potholes, broken sidewalks, dangerous stairwells, ice, snow and other slick conditions are common hazards. If you were injured in a slip or trip and fall on someone else’s residential or business property, you may have a claim if that property had a defective surface, a slippery substance or other dangerous condition that caused the fall. This is called premises liability.

These injuries most commonly occur at restaurants, supermarkets, stores and on sidewalks. You may also pursue a claim for injuries against a state, city or other government entity if your accident occurred on government-controlled property such as a bus stop, subway station or housing development. A homeowner insurance policy may pay compensation for a slip- or trip-and-fall accident, a dog bite or a swimming pool drowning accident.

Not every slip-and-fall injury entitles the injured person to a claim, only those related to accidents caused by the property owner or manager’s failure to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition, or warn the public of a dangerous condition that they caused, knew about, or should have known about. Was a member of your family injured in a slip-and-fall accident caused by negligence of a New York City business owner or operator? If you have questions about a personal injury claim, an attorney from our Brooklyn firm, Lozner & Mastropietro, will be happy to speak with you. Please contact our office to arrange a free consultation with one of our lawyers.

Premises Liability Law And Slip And Fall

Premises liability is the law that governs trip, slip, and fall accidents and determines who is at fault. Every premises liability case is evaluated on an individual basis and considers whether or not the property owner took precautions to make the area safe, as well as whether or not you were careless and contributed to the slip and fall accident. The monetary amount of compensation that you can recover for your injuries depends on the extent of the property owner or tenant’s legal responsibility. Contact a lawyer to discuss a trip or slip and fall accident claim. A premises liability claim may involve a slippery grocery aisle, debris at a construction site or workplace, an uneven sidewalk, broken stairs, an icy parking lot or an unprotected swimming area.

Municipal Liability For Slip-And-Fall Accidents

Municipal liability is the law that governs the responsibility of government bodies for personal injuries caused on government-owned property or by government employees. States, counties, cities and other government bodies, such as housing or transit or port authorities that own or occupy property such as parks, subways, buses, subway stations, bus shelters, and housing projects also have the responsibility to be aware of dangerous conditions on their premises and to take reasonable actions to alert the public and correct the situations in a reasonable amount of time.

It is important to note, however, that New York City cannot be held responsible for slip and/or trip and fall injuries that occur on city property unless the city had prior written notice of the dangerous condition that caused the accident (or if the city caused or created the defect through construction, etc.). For New York City to be responsible for an accident caused by a broken sidewalk, for example, it must have had written complaints regarding that portion of the sidewalk on record for at least 15 days prior to the accident and the adjacent property is a one-, two- or three-family home that is wholly or partially owner occupied and used exclusively for residential purposes. If the adjacent property does not fit this description, then the adjacent property owner will be responsible.

It is important to know YOU HAVE ONLY 90 DAYS TO FILE A CLAIM for personal injuries caused by New York City or other NYC government bodies so it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to preserve your rights.

What should I do if I slipped and fell or tripped and fell?

Contact Our New York Premises Liability Attorneys

At Lozner & Mastropietro, our Brooklyn lawyers are dedicated to helping victims of slip, trip and fall accidents recover fair compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a slip and/or trip and fall accident, or you simply need more information, please call 917-920-9431 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Slip-and-Fall Accidents

What should I do immediately after a slip and fall, or shortly after the incident?

Inspect the area where you fell. What caused you to fall? Did anyone see you fall? Write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone in the vicinity where the incident occurred, both those who saw you fall and others who were there after the incident, because you may need them as witnesses on your behalf if the landowner disputes your claim. Even if someone did not see you fall but was present at the time, he or she could, if necessary, describe your pain and the conditions of the floor, lighting, etc., immediately after you fell.

If the incident occurred in a store or place of business, speak with the manager or supervisor on duty. Have him or her make a record of the incident, and get a copy of anything prepared by the business. If anyone (especially an employee, supervisor or manager) makes a comment suggesting that this has occurred before, or that they were aware of the condition before your fall, make a mental note. If possible, get the name of the person who made the comment. As soon as you are out of the store, write down the name and what exactly the person said, and who else heard him or her make the statement.

What kinds of damages are recoverable for this kind of injury?

This depends on the facts of your particular case. In general, the following damages may be recoverable:

  • Medical bills and expenses incurred as a result of the incident
  • Lost income for time from work to recover
  • The fair value of any clothing damaged in the incident
  • Compensation for pain and suffering as a result of the injury

I fell down and injured myself on someone elses property. I dont feel well. Should I wait to see if I feel better before doing anything?

No, you should see your primary care physician or another medical doctor, since your injuries may be more severe than you think.

You should also be aware that floor or ground conditions may change, and you may need to preserve or record the condition that caused your injury (typically with a photograph or videotape).

Who will pay for my medical treatment?

Your health insurance will pay for your medical treatment, if you have coverage. In addition, some property insurance policies contain something called Med Pay, which provides coverage for your medical treatment.

What is a dangerous or hazardous condition?

Property owners are responsible for injuries that occur as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on their property, which the owner knew about or should have known about. The hazard may be obvious (such as a broken stair) or hidden (like a hole in a lawn that is partially covered by grass). In some instances it may not be apparent, as in flooring, which appears normal, but is slippery. It could be permanent, like broken concrete with a change in elevation, or temporary, like a liquid spill in a supermarket aisle.

In general, an owner will be considered to have knowledge of a dangerous or hazardous condition if it is permanent in nature, because the owner knew, or should have known, about the condition before the incident occurs. In the case of temporary conditions (like a liquid spill), the length of time that the condition existed before the incident occurred has legal significance.

If the spill occurred just before the incident, then the property owner may not be responsible for the injury, because the owner could not have known about the spill (and would not have been able to do anything about it) before the slip and fall occurred. If, however, the spill was present for some period of time before the incident, or occurs in an area subject to liquid spills, or is a recurring event, then the owner may be responsible, even if the owner did not know about the spill before it occurred.